Ladies and Gentlemen…Cliff Hillis!

This isn’t the first time Cliff Hillis has made it into Beatles Freak Reviews, but truth be told, he just keeps continuing to impress me every time he comes out with new music. My husband I got to see him last week at the CD release party for his latest EP.

A Beatle fan himself, you can easily hear the influence the Fab Four has had on Cliff, especially in the title track from his new six song EP – Many Happy Returns. And for those of you that are fans of all things pop-culture, Robbie Rist, the guy who played Cousin Oliver on the Brady Bunch, actually co-wrote another song on this album – Never In A Million Years.

Many Happy Returns was just released last week on June 9, 2017.  You can preview and download a copy at iTunes, Amazon or Spotify…or order a copy of the CD (just $6+shipping) from TallBoy Records. If you’re still not sure if you want it, just listen to the title track on the player below…

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Book Review: “Lennon: The New York Years” by Foenkinos/Corbeyran/Horne

Well, Amazon got me again! While browsing online at Amazon.com, this book appeared as a Recommendations….

Lennon: The New York Years was written by David Foenkinos and Eric Corbeyran, illustrated by Horne and published on May 30, 2017. According to an article on NME.com, this graphic novel is adapted from a 2010 novel “Lennon” by French author David Foenkinos. After reading this book, there is a part of me that wants to see what the original was like.

This book is touted as “true biographical fiction”, as the setting is John Lennon laying on a psychiatrist’s couch talking about the ups, downs, joys and pains of his life. There are 18 sessions (chapters) in all. Now, I get that when they termed it ‘true biographical fiction’ they were probably referring to his regularly seeing a therapist that happened to also live in the Dakota so Lennon wouldn’t have to go out in public, but unfortunately, some of the fiction seems to have leaked out into Lennon’s life. Starting off with the tall tale that seems to still keep popping up, after long having been dismissed, that John was born during an air raid in Liverpool with the whistling and boom of bombs going off all around the hospital. You be the judge…

“The night I was born it was to the deafening sound of Liverpool being bombed by the Germans. I didn’t come into a life, I came into chaos. And I spent my whole life frightened. That night everything shook. Things fell from the shelves. A building fell down near us. Things had to happen fast so my mother had a cesarean.”

Artistically speaking, this book is actually a pretty nice book. The artist’s interpretation of this story is done in black and white in a 150 page hardcover edition. Comparatively speaking, I personally like the B&W rendition in this graphic novel better than Vivek J. Tiwary’s The Fifth Beatle, but I prefer the linen texture Tiwary cover over the smooth, scratch prone cover of this book. Your mileage may vary…

I leave you with the trailer to this book…

I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Album/CD Review: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 50th Anniversary Edition

I decided it was time for me to review something new, so I went out and bought the new Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 2 CD Deluxe EditionYou can pick up various packaging for the revised/remix of the original album (1 CD, 2 CD, Deluxe, etc.), but I decided that for my own purposes all I really needed was the 2 CD set with the new mix and a CD of outtakes (I won’t be reviewing the outtakes).

In order to fully understand what Giles Martin did in his editing of the original cuts, I pulled out my Sgt. Pepper’s CD from 1987 and tried desperately to get my old 5 disc player to play the two discs in spiral mode so I could hear the old, then new version of each track…but alas, after 2 hours of wrestling with both our players, I ended up having to do it manually! UGH…time warp back to the 1980s!

Well, it didn’t take long to hear the difference! The older disc has a duller, more muted sound to it and the tracks sound very distinct as they change from speaker to speaker.  The new version is an amazing mix that flows…Picture yourself in a boat on a river, With tangerine trees and marmalade skies INDEED! The music literally surrounds you and it made me sorry I was listening to it on just two speakers. My next purchase is going to be a fantastic set of headphones for just the purpose of listening to this CD. I also can’t wait to get to listening to these mind blowing, full bodied moving tunes in the six speaker sound chamber of my car. It’s so hard to describe, maybe you just have to be there! And for that reason…

I rate this album/CD 5 out of 4 Beetles! (George Martin included this time…)

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Julian Lennon’s “SALTWATER” 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Vinyl!

 

Just saw this in my email. A 7″ 25th Anniversary Limited Edition of Julian Lennon‘s hit single Saltwater on clear vinyl?! Maybe I’m just channeling my inner 1980’s persona, but I just have to have this and thought maybe some of my readers may too! Order your copy here!

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Make Music Day – June 21, 2017

 

I just read about this on the NAMM.org website and thought all my Beatles Freak readers would be interested to know more about this amazing day.  Below is a snip from the Make Music Day website telling all about this 35 year old worldwide celebration of music! Check out their website to see what kind of activities are going on in a city near you! I know I will…

Make Music Day is an annual celebration that occurs each June 21, when people in more than 750 cities around the world make music together on the summer solstice.

In 1982, Jack Lang and the staff of France’s Ministry of Culture created a new kind of musical holiday they called Fête de la Musique, which means both “festival of music” and “make music!” They imagined a day where free, live music would be everywhere: street corners, parks, rooftops, gardens, storefronts, and mountaintops. Everyone was invited to join and play music, or to host performances, wherever they were. The Fête has turned into a national music-making holiday in France every June 21, on the summer solstice. According to surveys, almost 8% of the country—5 million people—have played an instrument or sung in public for the Fête de la Musique.

Today, Make Music Day has become an international phenomenon, with millions of musicians of all styles, all ages, and all skill levels reimagining their cities as stages, and using music to spread joy to their communities. And Make Music Day is spreading quickly in the United States.

www.MakeMusicDay.org

 

 

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Book Review: “A Cellarful of Noise” by Brian Epstein

My reading and review of A Cellarful of Noise by Beatle’s manager Brian Epstein has been too long in coming. This book was published in August 1964 and since I was born in July 1964 and was unable to read at the time, I think I have a firm excuse for being tardy.

I’ve known about this book for a very long time, but it was during the reading and review of Peter Brown’s book, The Love You Make, that I finally decided to invest in my own copy. These books don’t come cheaply. My first edition hardcover copy cost me $25 + shipping. If you’re not inclined to spend that much on a book, you can get a copy of A Cellarful of Noise on Kindle for $7.99. But I digress…

I had one trepidation about reading this book and that’s because it was ghost written by my arch-nemesis Derek Taylor. Anyone who has read along with my blog for any substantial amount of time will know that Mr. Taylor just gets under my skin despite the fact that everyone associated with him always writes very highly of him and his place in the Beatles organization. Still, I wasn’t going to let this stop me from reading what I consider to be an absolute must read experience for any Beatles freak!

To give you some background on the writing of this book, let me quote a paragraph from Peter Brown’s book:

The book’s entire interview and research period took place over a long weekend at the Imperial Hotel in Torquay in the south of England. On the first day Brian got through his childhood period without much trouble, but on the second day he started having difficulty telling Derek the story of his teens and early twenties.

At only 120 pages, this book is a short and abbreviated story of Brian Epstein, his life, career (with and without the Beatles) and his hopes and thoughts about his future, the future of the Beatles and his other artists. At some points, it seems to almost become a sales pitch for Billy J. Kramer, Cilla Black and Gerry Marsden since it was written so early on in Brian’s career as a manager, but still it is a very enjoyable read with a lot of stories I had already heard and some stories that were new and revealing to me (remember, I don’t consider myself a Beatles trivia expert, so a lot of tales are still very new to me). Brian, always being the consummate professional and purveyor of good manners, is kind throughout the pages and if he does tell any tales of arguments or disagreements, he’s sure to clear up any harsh exchanges with words of peace and harmony in the end. And even though I had my doubts about this book because of Derek’s influence in it’s pages, I’m led to believe that because of Brian’s inscrutable honesty in all manners, that he would have never allowed the release of any book that wasn’t a true story and depiction of himself or those around him. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Bonus Book Review: “Crazy is My Superpower” by A.J. Mendez Brooks

I received this book for free in exchange for a review on Blogging For Books.

You may think I’m crazy for actually volunteering to read Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules by former WWE superstar wrestler A.J. Mendez Brooks or as she was professionally known AJ Lee, but the title is deceiving (and the cover is awful). There’s a lot of information and personal pain packed into this little book by this petite, powerhouse of a woman. I was seriously surprised by how much I loved this book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her story.

April Jeanette Mendez was the third child of poverty stricken couple Janet and Robert Mendez. Evicted from there apartments/homes no less than 20 times during her childhood, her family spent a good deal of time living in cars, motels and with very patient relatives. Despite all this, AJ was able to get straight A’s in school and went on to get accepted to NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. At the age of 12 she announced to her brother and dad that someday she would be a WWE wrestler and when art school didn’t work out for her, nothing got in her way to make her dream come true. Not being told she wasn’t pretty enough (actually, they told her no one wanted to have sex with her!) and not her bipolar disorder.

I was seriously surprised by how much I loved this book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her story. If it wasn’t for some of the four letter words (hey…she is a Jersey girl!), I would say every little girl should have this book on her reading list. Every young woman who doubts herself should read this book.

I feel with every ounce of my body, and nothing can stop me from raising my voice. I do not fear fighting for what is right. I do not fear standing up, even if I have to stand alone. I am beautiful when I am confident enough to be ugly. I am stronger when I am vulnerable. And I will never apologize for any of that. There is endless power in giving zero fucks. There is endless power in being a crazy chick. – AJ Mendez

You got the world by the balls, AJ! And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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